The third time was a charm for Treena Arinzeh, Ph.D., and the Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept program.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology researcher leveraged the mentoring and business advice she received through two rounds of the program in 2012 and 2013 to try again. And in January 2018, she received $200,000 in funding from the Science Center and NJIT to help bring her early-stage bone grafting technology to market.
QED is at the core of the Science Center's support for early-stage innovation and technology commercialization. Launched in 2009, QED gives academic researchers at 21 partner institutions mentoring, business advice, and in some cases funding, to commercialize their early-stage life science and healthcare technologies.
Although she didn’t receive funding during her first two forays, the QED experience gave Arinzeh the foundation to develop her latest technology, which is focused on reducing recovery time and cost associated with bone grafting procedures. “This understanding of the target market, developing a strategy towards commercialization, and being able to identify and convey the need for the proposed technology were important aspects of what I learned in those first two attempts,” says Arinzeh.
Roughly half of the million orthopedic procedures performed in the U.S. each year for reconstructive surgery, trauma or abnormal skeletal defects include bone grafting. In addition to a limited supply, current bone grafts and graft substitutes can result in poor bone healing and other adverse effects.
QED uniquely supports academic researchers by combining technical development with a robust exploration of market deployment requirements. This is the first of what we anticipate will be many collaborations in which we leverage our respective capabilities to bring game-changing technologies to market."
Arinzeh has developed a bioactive composite matrix which serves as a bone graft substitute that can be used alone or in combination with a patient’s own bone marrow to repair bone defects. The technology deploys a unique synthetic matrix that can be used as an autograft extender allowing improved cell attachment, bone ingrowth, and bone formation.
Arinzeh’s was one of three projects selected for QED funding in late 2017. In all, QED awarded $600,000 in 2017 to advance technologies as diverse as the academic institutions at which they were developed. In addition to Arinzeh’s technology out of NJIT, QED supported Maureen Murphy, Ph.D., of The Wistar Institute, whose work is advancing new treatments for therapy-resistant melanoma by focusing on the mitochondria essential to the growth of cancer cells, and Jean-Pierre Issa, M.D., of Temple University, who has discovered a series of new compounds that help rewire gene expression patterns and reverse the invasive potential of cancer cells.